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In an article contributed to the Indian Antiquary for 1881 Dr. Oldenterg
of Berlin seeks to identify the great Kanishka, not, as General Cunningham has
done, with the mythical Vikram&ditya, but with the founder of the Saka era in
73 A.D., thus supporting the same chronological theory as Dr. Mitra. The
Knshana dynasty, to which K╗nishka belonged, seems to have first established
itself about 24 B.C. in the person of Hermaens, The coins of this Prince, in
which he is styled Basilevs Soter, are well known to numismatists, us also are
those of Ms three successors, who bear the barbarous names of JKozulokad*
pnises, Kozokkadaphes and Ooemakadphises. The Chinese speak of this dynasty
as of great power in India in 159 A.D., but after the death of Vasmdeva e. 178
A,D, it rapidly declined and was altogether extinguished about the year of out
era 220. After a century of darkness, regarding which nothing is known, the
Guptas rose to power in 319 A.D. and held the throne^ for five generations,
till about 480 AźD., when they were deposed by the Vaflabhis, who, however,
continued to date events by "the same era as their predecessors. The Satrapas
or KshatrapaSj who are commemorated by an inscription at Mathura, dated in
the reign of the Satrap Saudasa, probably employed a local era of their OWB
dynasty. This appears to have been founded in Gujarat about 100 A.D. and
to have continued in power for three centuries, when it was overthrown by
the Guptas.
Mr. Thomas, the celebrated numismatist, has broached a theory ihat the
era intended is that of the Seleueidae, which commenced on the last of Octo-
ber, 310 B. C. The long interval of time between this date and either the
Vifcram&ditya or the Saka initial year would seem to render Ms hypothesis
altogether untenable, as being utterly subversive of accepted chronology.
But from such an inscription as thai of Kanishka with the date Sambat 9 ie
does not deduce the year 303 B. C. (that is 312-9), but rather supposes that
as we ourselves ordinarily write 75 for 1875, so the Indo-Scythians wrote 9
for 309 ; and thus Sambat 2 might correspond with the year 3 B.C. A
curious confirmation of this view may be observed in the fact that the inscrip-
tions, in which the dates range from 0 to 08, employ a division of the year
into the three seasons, Grishma, Varsha, and HemantaŚ-that is to say, the hot
weather, the rains and the winter; źnd the day is specified as (for example)
ihe llth of the 4ih month of the particular season. IB only one of th«
Mathura inscriptions is the date above a hundred, mz^ 135 ; and here lie
division of time is according to tiie Hindu Calenotar still in use, the particular
month named beting Tiishya. Hencs it may be inferred th&t tim inscription